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Colossal dissertation problems

dee_mw 1 / 4  
Apr 20, 2007   #1
my dissertation is due in 2 weeks time and ive been putting off doing it well until now when i dont have a choice. ive been putting off doing it and concentrating on all the other assignments ive had because i just didnt know what i was doing or trying to find out, and well now thats still the case.

the general area of interest was gender/ sexuality and advertising. i then came up with a title based on abstract i read ( i cant obtain the full one as its is spanish unlike the abstract): the construction of feminine identity in the discourse of women's magazines in britain.

i thought i would approach the adverts with a critical discourse analysis stance, and had planned to look at cosmo, asian women and essence- i wanted to also see if there were differences amongst the diff magazines aimed at diff ethnicities.

i tried to begin yesterday and i just dont know what im doing. i went out and bought an array of lifestyle magazines aimed at both men and women, as by this time i thought it would be easier to look at both men and women.

i thought i would look at how men and women are portrayed in advertisments in the perspective magazines.
is this too broad?

i thought i could look at diferent products eg skincare technology etc and see what role men and women take.

i was still interested in doin the ethnicity aspect but i dont think its viable as i cant find any lifestyle magazines aimed at black men. theres one for asian men ( asian groom and bride - its first issue out now) that is matched with asian woman and cosmo etc would be matched with esquire/fhm etc..

also i obviously only have this months edition of the magazines is that fine? as an ex-cosmopolitan reader i have loads of those available if they needed to be used.. i was planning to treat the magazines as a case study that way i thought i wouldnt have to have so many.

ive further restricted my self because i want to do a qualitatitive study as opposed to a quantitative..i dont want to have to use SPSS as we werent taught how to use it properly.

i am so utterly lost. ive been puttin my disso off for so long and now im stuck.stuck.

im so lost about how to approach this. i feel like ( well i keep telling myself) that i have enough time and i can do 2000 wrds a day to be finished in time.however i just dont know what to write.

i would appreciate any help guidance you can give me!! please help ...

im so frustrated..i come up with ideas of research that are good however i cant ever seem to follow them through.

i havent really been in touch with my supervisor much as ive felt everytime i was changing my ideas and just didnt know what i was doing. and i kept avoidin my disso my completin other assignments. the last time i was in touch with her was a month agao at which time i proposed i wanted to look at the construction of feminine identity in womens magazines that were aimed at different ethnicities. she liked this idea and asked me to come up with reaserch questions etc and see if i can apply them to the data. i put off doing that because i was tryin to meet other assignment deadlines, and well now its now ..and im stuck.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Apr 20, 2007   #2

Goodness, you are in a tizzy! My sympathies, I know you must feel very stressed! I know what it's like to feel you can't pin yourself down to one direction, but in this case, you really don't have time to be waffling. I think your supervisor is right; your original idea was very good and you should proceed in that direction. Looking at "how men and women are portrayed in advertisments" sounds awfully broad to me. What if you just buckle down and decide, "I'm going with my first plan"; then, do just what your supervisor said, and come up with research questions. For example, is there a difference in the way different minorities are portrayed in these consumer magazines? Is one ethnicity's portrayal of feminity stronger than another? Can you find specific trends which seem to hold true across the board? For example, are Asian women portrayed as more delicate? Are black woman shown as appearing stronger? Are there stereotypes which need to be addressed? You may find no differences at all, but you won't know unless you look for them.

Have you tried looking online for magazines? I don't know how accessible those types of magazines are on the web without buying an annual subscription, but it might be worth a look.

I know you feel you've backed yourself into a corner, but you still have time to at least do a preliminary draft, if you just go in one direction instead of twenty! :-))

Best of luck!


Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP dee_mw 1 / 4  
Apr 21, 2007   #3

firstly, thank you for reply...very much appreciate your advice...i know i do seem to be going in 20 directions and not one. confusion.confusion.

yesterday i had a brainstorm ( only read your response this morning) and decided on doing the how men and women are portrayed in advertisements. i thought of the following research questions:

does the discourse of an advertisement create assumptions about gender and their roles within society
how does lexis of the advertisements differ
is there a difference between the potrayal of each gender influenced by the targer audience of the magazine ( eg black white asian)

the reaserch questions you've given me are really good. my only fear is that i only have one magazine aimed at black women and asian women...i know there is one more on the market for asian women (asiana) however the majority of the advertisements were of traditional clothes. i think i will be able to get more aimed at black women ebony/pride.

i think there is definetely a difference between how they are portrayed. the covers of the front magazines illuminate this aswell...cosmo relies on sex predominately to sell its magazines whilst the other magazines didnt even make a reference to sex and had more human feature articles.

i also noticed, that the cars advertised in asian women and essence are luxury cars such as mercs etc, and in cosmo theres no luxury cars.the language used in the cars ads is also different.

yeh i did look online...cant really access much without a subscription..
EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Apr 21, 2007   #4

I'm glad to know that you are feeling more in control of your project. :-) I think the questions you have come up with are excellent. That's interesting about the luxury car ads...says something about the various magazines' target audiences, doesn't it?

I wish you the best! Let me know if I can be of any help!


Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP dee_mw 1 / 4  
Apr 21, 2007   #5
ahh i just wrote a response and refreshed the page by mistake...nvm

yes i am feeling more in control, ive organised a tutorial with my supervisor for monday so im hoping to have some productive work done this weekend.

i was thinking about my title from before the one about female identity, ive refined and decided against the ethnicity aspect as i dont have enough data..in terms of magazines aimed at different ethnicities.

this is what i refined it to:
the construction of the 'fun fearless female' identity in the discourse of cosmopolitan magazines

( cosmo's tag line/slogan is FOR FUN FEARLESS FEMALES) msg continued in next posting
OP dee_mw 1 / 4  
Apr 21, 2007   #6
continiued from previous msg...2/2
i thought i could treat the magazines as a casestudy.

could you help me come up with some research questions, so far ive come up with some tenative ones:
will articles support or challenge understandings between the differences between male and females
to what extent are the identies of the women created as independant of men
do the advertisements challenge or conform to gender stereotypes
does the discourse challenge or confirm the prevailing gender dichotomy? ( ie are women inferior).. what do you think?
i was thinking id use to critical discourse analysis to analyse adverts and a few typical articles
cosmo is supposed to be for independent women etc yet it always portrays them in a postion where they are aspiring to please men etc. even articles to do with job/work are made sexual, and thus portray ( and continue to allow) women to be objectified...

im again not too sure how id select the articles to analyse...any suggestions? i have loads of cosmos ( hate to admit it) so i think i have enough data...

thanx again... ( i know it must be difficult tryin to advise someone who is constantly changin their mind...i think this is the idea i want to stick to!)

would be grateful if you could help me with some research questions and advise me how to select my data...

EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Apr 22, 2007   #7

I'm glad to hear you've got it narrowed down! I think your title is excellent and very interesting! Your research questions are very good. I'm afraid I do not have any experience with writing a dissertation, so I may not be the best person to advise you on how to select your data and formulate your questions. One thing that does come to mind, though...if you have several years' worth of Cosmos, it might be interesting to investigate (in addition to, not instead of, the questions you have so far) whether the images which supposedly project the "fun, fearless female" have changed noticeably over the past few years. Women's place in society has been continuously evolving into stronger positions as time goes by; has Cosmo kept pace, or has the evolution gone unnoticed by them? Is the fun, fearless female the same as she was 5 or 10 years ago?

As far as selecting your data, I just think you have to be very clear what you're looking for so that you don't end up flipping endlessly through issue after issue. Let your research questions be your guide. Beyond that, I'm not sure what to tell you, but I imagine your supervisor could be more helpful.

Good luck with your meeting on Monday!


Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP dee_mw 1 / 4  
Apr 22, 2007   #8
hey sarah...

thanks for your advice. ill keep you posted..hopefully it'll work out okay...
EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Apr 22, 2007   #9
You're welcome! Things have a way of working out! Good luck and let me know how it goes!

freelancer - / 1  
Mar 3, 2008   #10
Independent Grading Needed on UK Undergraduate Dissertation

I wondered if anyone would be able to cast an eye over and grade an undergraduate level dissertation? I don't need any advice on how to make it better, I would just like to know what grade it would get.

Thanking you in hope :)
EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Mar 4, 2008   #11

While I'm happy to look at it for you, I'm not sure that my opinion as to what grade it should get would necessarily align with what your instructor would think. I don't know what criteria your instructor uses; he or she might place emphasis on things I would consider less important, or vice versa. However, I'm willing to give it a try, if you would like to post it here. :-)


Sarah, EssayForum.com

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